How to Choose an HVAC School near Elkton Kentucky
Now that you have made a decision on a career as a heating and cooling technician, the next step is to choose an HVAC vocational school near Elkton KY. But with so many to choose from, how do you select the ideal one to receive the training that you need? Some future students will make their decision based exclusively on the price of tuition or how close the school is to their home. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other factors that you need to research are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to select an HVAC technical school, let’s look at what a heating and a/c specialist does to become a licensed qualified tradesman.
How to Become an HVAC Pro in Elkton KY
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the business that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC techs specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are generally required to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own requirements. Acquiring professional certification is not compulsory, but an alternative way for Elkton KY HVAC techs to demonstrate that they are exceptionally skilled and experienced in their area of specialization. There are several acknowledged certifications within the industry that are available. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is attained by passing a competency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. Two years of professional experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience as well as a passing score on the professional level examination. Similar to NATE, certifications are provided in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification obtainable, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Since licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to earn certification, it’s imperative that you choose an HVAC vocational school that will prepare you for both. And since you will most likely be handling refrigerants, make sure that the school you select prepares you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a number of choices available for HVAC instruction in a technical or trade school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the lesser amount of time, typically completed in as little as six months, though some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification related to the position. The degree training programs might provide a competitive edge in the job market and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short summary of each credential offered near Elkton KY.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level commercial or residential HVAC technicians. They provide a solid foundation of skills for employment within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program supplies a more comprehensive knowledge of heating & cooling systems than the certificate program. Typically taking 2 years to finish, some degrees include an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional 4 year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be dependent on what your long term career objectives are, as well as the time and financial resources that you have to commit. One approach is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after gaining some experience in the trade in Elkton KY, subsequently going back to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your tactic, make certain to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Courses
Enrolling in an HVAC program online is one alternative to attaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Most schools will call for some attendance on campus to take part in practical training. Many also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended online, this approach may be a more practical solution for some Elkton KY students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even commuting expenses from Elkton and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with little time to attend classes, perhaps an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to fit school into your active schedule.
Questions For HVAC Certification Classes near Elkton KY
As soon as you have chosen the type of certificate or degree that you would like to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to decrease your list of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are numerous HVAC vocational schools in the Elkton KY area and throughout the United States to choose from. That’s why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifications when making school comparisons. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the first 2 factors you will look at. Following are several additional ones that you will want to investigate before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC trade programs in the Elkton KY area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as HVAC technology. Make certain that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states mandate that the HVAC training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Elkton KY HVAC employers to assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Elkton KY HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Elkton KY HVAC contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Elkton KY residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Elkton KY, check that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Attending HVAC School near Elkton KY?
The city was founded by Major John Gray and established by the state assembly in 1820. It is named for a nearby watering hole previously hosting a large elk herd. It was formally incorporated in 1843.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,984 people, 810 households, and 541 families residing in the city. The population density was 959.4 people per square mile (370.1/km²). There were 928 housing units at an average density of 448.8 per square mile (173.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 82.31% White, 15.68% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.30% Asian, 1.21% from other races, and 0.35% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.32% of the population.
There were 810 households out of which 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.7% were married couples living together, 19.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.1% were non-families. 30.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.82.
Select the Right HVAC Certification Training near Elkton KY
Selecting the ideal HVAC training program is a critical beginning toward a fulfilling career in the heating & cooling industry. As we have discussed in this article, you should pick a school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to look for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to tour the campus and speak with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and if night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the proper questions as we have outlined in our checklist for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an educated decision. With the appropriate training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC contractor in Elkton KY.
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